Ah Acorn.. I knew that UofT had a thing for oak trees (in the crest, ACORN and now Quercus; the Latin name for oak tree… but that’s another blogpost itself). I had my own story behind the name ACORN before I found out it stood for Accessible Campus Online Resource Network.
Conversations about space in a non-academic setting was refreshing. The people who came on the trip were not just science students – they were students of philosophy, engineering, science, pure math, computer science and gender studies. The variety of opinions and perspectives shared made our conversations all the more interesting.
The only memories I have of cycling when I was younger were my first tricycle (still have it!), being chased by wild dogs when I tried to learn to bike and trying to bike between joggers; assuming that people would move out of my way when I rung my bell. However, with the guidance of my teammates and cycling daily to and from practice in the Fall and Summer, I can now confidently cycle on the busy streets of Toronto.
Our last class outside the classroom was our “Psychogeographic Walk” in which the goal was to get lost (literally). We created a set of directions such as two lefts then right and stuck to it religiously. We had spent the whole year discovering the city and once you’ve circled UC two-to-three times, you notice things you often overlook!
I met people from across all three UofT campuses in varying disciplines who had come to UofT from Ethiopia, America, India and Cameroon, to name a few. Half of us stayed to help the host, Paul on kitchen-duty while the other half explored the trails and ponds of the 150 acre property. I learnt that Paul was a New College student like me! Everyone kept asking him which year he graduated but he never gave a straight answer.
A perk was the Course Community (CC) component in which we met with an upper-year student bi-weekly. There was one rule: We were not to discuss any course materials. The purpose of CC was for us to meet industry speakers, current grad students and tour the laboratory facilities and be able to ask questions about the research being done in the department.
Even though it’s near impossible to find plug points outdoors, I personally enjoy disconnecting every once in awhile. All the places above are near libraries and indoor designated work-spaces that I can retreat to if it gets too hot, starts to rain or if there are too many bugs. Despite this, a huge plus about studying outside is that I can snack at anytime without feeling guilty every bite that I sneak in the libraries – shh!
I’m not sure if I should be concerned about how easily motivated I am by food and free t-shirts.. But I think it’s a good starting point to getting more involved with the community of my chosen field of study.